Monday, August 5, 2013

What Does Breakthrough Mean? - Part 1

By Pascal Dennis

Not understanding Breakthrough - common failure mode in Strategy Deployment.

Too often, our Strategy A3 papers are full of work that's routine or entails continuous incremental improvement.

Our A3 becomes crowded with non-critical stuff & we lose sight of the critical few.

Strategy Deployment is about breakthrough - the few things you will emphasize to take your business to another level.

So how do we come to better understand breakthrough?

Here's a useful technique.

As yourself, "What are five problems, whose solution will transform our business?"

The question is a fractal, and applies at every level of the organization.

The higher the level, the more "play" in defining the "boundary conditions" & "design space".

Sometimes the answer is obvious.

For example, if you're launching a new model in an auto plant, breakthrough might entail:

  • Reducing ergonomic burden by 50%
  • Improving productivity by 30% (through Waste reduction)

If you're in agriculture, breakthrough might mean:

  • Reducing employee absenteeism & turnover by 40%
  • Increasing Yield by 30%

But other times, breakthrough is not obvious. We can become stuck in our mental models, unable to see what's all too visible to 'fresh eyes'.

Or as we rise in organization, we can lose touch with the front line, where Value is created.

Other things can hinder us as well.

For now, let's remember the above question - and it's corollary: "Why not?"

As in, "Why not zero injuries, infections, defects, waste...?"



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